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Who will help needy Singaporeans if not the government?

Posted by temasektimes on October 1, 2012

We want a robust society that every man can fend for himself. We want a man to fight for his own living, to earn according to his talent (as valued by an open market economy). We put on the pedestal the parents who work 12 hours shift to put their children through University. The children in turn take care of the parents in their old age.

And finally, we abhor the notion of the dependent citizen being a leech onto society, lazy and being a bum. If he is old and destitute, it is his fault, since he did not bother or was not wise enough to save for his old age. He has no claim on society’s benevolence, no claim as a citizen, he has no claim for health care or fear from hunger, he has no right to even ask, he was told to be tough and wise, but he was foolish and feeble.And since he is unable to be part of the more “upright”, “capable”, “talented” and “dependent free” Singaporeans, he deserved to be where he is, in need and without help or hope.

I think there is an existential belief in our elites that they are appointed by God; a Darwinism that is raw and coarse, stripped of graces, humility and Noblesse oblige. And what is even more troubling is that they have greater affinity to the global elites than they have with fellow Singaporeans. Is it a wonder that many rich people (US and Europe) descend upon Singapore? They too believe in low taxes, minimal social spending, no inheritance tax, no capital tax, because sharing in a Darwinian society is a cataclysmic paradox; it at once takes away the reason why some should be rich and others poor, it takes legitimacy away from opulence and taints it with guilt, and more importantly it bares the truth that humanity is equality, not a progressive apex where X men appear. As Ecclesiastes showed, the rich man, the poor man, the wise man and the fool, they all die. Yes, I understand that LKY did say that he will get up even when he is six feet underground if Singapore is in trouble, but I rather think that is rhetorical.

Least I am accused of a being Marxist or Communist, lets say I have no illusions with the pomposity of Communists elites; there are enough corruption cases on either end of the cold war spectrum, that elites whether Capitalists or Communists are not that different.

But least I am accused of being emotional and not level headed. Let me show some numbers with regards to how the richest nation on Earth treats its “wayward” citizens. Among Advanced Economies (which include, Iceland, Israel), we spend the least on healthcare at 4% of GDP, almost all other Advanced countries spending is more than double ours. Again, among Advanced countries only Singapore has no unemployment benefits. While, the logic is that the Government will help the unemployed seek employment, the fact is, low unemployment does not mean no unemployment. And more elderly are working, not because they are saving to buy the BMW, but they cannot afford to retire, and about 40% as menial workers competing with the FTs.

When the Government talk about the silent majority, these are the ones they neglect talking about. They are not ones clamoring for benefits, they are not ones going online asserting their rights, they just silently go about their lives in full acceptance of their position in life. But how can we as members of this community called Singapore just keep quiet?

“Help is not something they are absolutely entitled to?” Sigh. If they are not entitled to be helped then who is? If no one needs to be helped then are we already in Heaven?


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.


Posted in Letters | 29 Comments »

My thoughts on the Ng Boon Gay corruption trial

Posted by temasektimes on September 30, 2012

Ms Sue must not forget she is only a witness and not the complainant in this case.

All she needs to do is just tell it the way it was for the sake of the administration of justice.

Whether Ng is finally acquitted or convicted is none of her business but that of the prosecutors’.

But her demeanor displayed thus far is exposing her to public scrutiny and even ridicule. Why the trouble. What she would need most is a lawyer to advise her accordingly instead of the flabby bodyguards.

One can be a prosecution witness in any case and whatever the outcome at the end of the day both sides can still be friends.

Sexual exploitation and sexual harassment are common tools used by sexual predators around the world. In South Korea, company directors sexually exploited a starlet until she committed suicide.

Singapore with the patriarch passionate about being the first in everything is trying to introduce sex as a bribery tool.

In the same vein many years ago they tried to introduce a charge of “raping prostitutes”.

I remember a police sergeant and 2 constables under him were hauled to court with a charge of raping a prostitute. During the trial at the high court the mattress used by them and hundreds of the prostitute’s clients was exhibited together with the grim.

Even the sergeant smoking a cigarette exhausted after the “rape” was given as part of the testimony. They were convicted but fortunately exonerated the appeals court.

Sex is a service provided willingly by prostitutes and the act committed by the policemen was none other than not paying for services rendered. Otherwise it is like charging restaurant patrons for robbery for not paying for the food.

The way I look at it Ng could only be guilty of sexual exploitation if ever there is one. We shall see.



*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.

Posted in Letters | 31 Comments »

Be realistic: Impossible for government to meet expectations of everybody

Posted by temasektimes on September 29, 2012

Government works for the people, but they are not God. They work in the best interest of the country and its people, but not for the unreasonable individual requests. Don’t blame all problems on the government, some are self created. Take housing for example, everyone is assured that price for HDB first time buyer is affordable. But many ended homeless because they used their flat as a trading commodity.

They sold their first flat, making good profit and spending them all, bought another unit with maximum loan and hoping to make another good profit again. Some did it a few times, until a day when they have problem servicing their loan, they ended up homeless. These people then approached HDB to buy or rent but was rejected because they already used up all their entitlements of buying twice directly from HDB and pocketing good profit. If HDB were to help these people then more will treat their flat as commodity trading.

When become homeless request for aid got rejected, the blame again falls on the government. Someone mentioned why we need foreign cleaners to clear trashes. It is because many Singaporeans are littering and not many Singaporean want to be cleaners. We also need other foreign workers to drive the economy otherwise businesses will go to other countries and we will have less jobs for our people. We need more businesses here to create job for ourself otherwise we will end up finding jobs in other country, and how much can we earn? Now talk about inflation. Yes, cost is going up, but inflation happens in all countries around the world. We import everything we use and we want only quality goods.

Transport fare increases but compare with many other advance city ours is still considered reasonable cheap. Food prices at many coffee shops and hawker centers are very affordable. Many of my overseas friend find our costs of living affordable and reasonable, given the amount of income we are earning. They admire the quality and price of our public housing. They envy the peace and security we enjoy. They wonder how a small island city state, without any natural resources or vast land is able to enjoy such a high level of success. I told them because we are blessed with a good, capable and honest government. Of course there are some fellow citizens who are not doing as well. They really need helps from the government and I know there are many bodies and organizations out there offering helps. There are people talking of free health care, free this and free that. This will means more taxes from the people, and it will also lead to misuse and wastage.

Don’t complain of having to wait for BTO flats. Flats are buying something that can be built over nights. We should instead plan in advance what we want in life accordingly. Government cannot meets every individual expectations or wants, some of which are really unreasonable. It should only work the country overall interest at large and not give in to unreasonable demands.


*The above was first posted as a comment on PM Lee’s Facebook.

Posted in Letters | 39 Comments »

Modify PSLE to reduce competition among students

Posted by temasektimes on September 28, 2012

Is it possible to modify PSLE so that it is NOT used as a criteria for admission to “good” secondary schools. I see this competition for “good” schools to be the source of the stress and the need for tuition to get more than 95% marks!

If PSLE is to grade students who meet the academic standard and 90% are marked as “pass” with no other distinction, then students who can meet the passing mark has time for other activities to build up their character and social interaction skills and to enjoy their childhood.

If there is lesser difference between “good” and “other” schools, students can go to a school near their home and spend less time on travel or being fetched by their parents.

We can identify leaders for our society based on their actual work experience and leadership in society and not on the academic results.


*The above was first posted as a comment on PM Lee’s Facebook.

Posted in Letters | 8 Comments »

Why did the Archbishop write the letter of support initially?

Posted by temasektimes on September 26, 2012

Did you ask yourself why the Archbishop wrote a letter of support? Is it because he knew the charges against these people were false and lies? DPM Tharman had said that he did not believe these people were Marxists. And they were tortured. Do you accept State torture as an instrument of security? ISA is not a crude instrument, it is an immoral instrument.

Pertaining to issues of separation of Church & State. The best way to interpret that separation is that the State should not influence how a man obtains his conscience. And the collapsed of that conscience in modern times can be seen in Nazi Germany. Can you name me an incident in recent history whereby the Church overthrew a State based on their application of conscience? Or that social disharmony was the result rather than the cause when a Church applies its moral authority?

Marcos Philippines fell, when Catholics through peaceful civil disobedience overcame his compunction for violence. But this is a country that is 90% Catholics.

This Government has cleverly over the years make Singaporeans think that politics is only for politicians, and that politics means every culture, every social event, every thought and action. The blanket usage of what is political is to restrict civil society and to preserve that interference and influence solely by the Government. Has not LKY proudly said that his Government makes no apologies for direct interference in very detail of Singaporeans’ social life?

Is the Archbishop the Head of the Catholic Church, but also its spokesperson, its leader, its ambassador? He has been doing this for a long time. To say that he didnt know what he was doing when he wrote that letter is to do him injustice, he is not a novice, he is a man of intellect, he has been granted wisdom. He was chosen by God to lead the Catholics in this little 700 sq km.

The withdrawal of the letter whether it is “forced” or as he claimed, likely to be used in a manner he did not intend, is not believable. Firstly, the letter was not solicited. Secondly, why should a man of God have hidden agendas in the segregation of ‘private” and “public”? Thirdly, what right is there that the giver withdrew his gift when that gift is unconditional?

But if the Archbishop had just withdraw and not make an issue, I think that would have been that. But perhaps goaded, he then say that he was “used”. Implying F8 intentionally manipulated him and the Catholic Church. But if his letter is unsolicited how can that be the case? That has since set in motion all the other incidents.

Every Singaporean has a right to apply their conscience. Peacefully, articulately and politely. By insisting that “politics” is only meant during elections and for politicians, you deprive right minded citizenry of its ability to participate in our country, you deny young people the education needed for their growth, you deem the lights of open debate and foster darkness of withdrawals, retreats, self immolation.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.

Posted in Letters | 14 Comments »

Singaporean chides Lawrence Wong: Do you really understand the resentment on the ground?

Posted by temasektimes on September 25, 2012

Dear Mr. Lawrence Wong,

I do not agree with some of the points that you have raised.

Firstly, with regards to the British royal couple visit, i do agree with fellow Singaporeans that it was more of a “wayang” rather than what you have claimed, “giving them a glimpse of the diverse activities in our homeland”. If our government is sincere in showing our guest “a glimpse of the activities in our homeland, we could simply show them the HDB flats that provides the basic housing for most Singaporeans (we are proud of it!) and then the market / food centre in Queenstown which will show them that despite Singapore being a small country, our food culture speaks of a fusion of cultures from all parts of the world.

In Food Centre/ Market, the British royal couple would also get to see follow Singaporeans having their lunch break (if they were early for visit), retirees shopping for grocery, or some old folks playing chess and relaxing away on benches rather than the “exhibition” of elderly practising Tai-Chi and silat. You might as well just bring them to our local museums.

Some net citizens have also commented that our government was worried that the British royal couple might catch the real glimpse of the activities in our homeland such as elderly picking up drinking cans/paper cardboard. If that’s the case, be proud of it and tell the British Royal Couple that these citizens chose to be independent rather than depending on social welfare and the government respect their choice. Isn’t that what most of the PAP MPs like to say when we Singaporeans expressed unhappiness with regards to the lack of help for these needy elderly?

Next, with regards to the TV Forum with PM Lee, as much as Singaporeans appreciate the effort of PAP, we would prefer the presence of the so called “oppositions” to be in the TV Forum. The reason why PAP is still in power is because there is no quality oppositions to take over the role of governance and i firmly believe that most Singaporeans would agree with me that Singapore is too small for two political parties to run the country and it is not efficient for decision making. And I hope you will realize that PAP is slowly losing the support of native Singaporeans. In the past, PAP easily win election by more than 80%. However in the last election, PAP only got 60.1% support which includes the votes of New Citizens & “One Last Chance” votes. What do i mean by “One Last Chance” votes? I believe you still remember that PM Lee apologized to Singaporeans on the 3rd May 2011. Because of his apology, many Singaporeans have chose to give PAP another chance. But it seems that they have made the wrong choice. Seems that we are looking forward to more foreigners becoming new citizens rather than the govt looking into the root of all problems by helping Singaporeans to have more babies. (stop telling us that there’s a limit on how much the govt can do.)

PM Lee wants a 6 million population for Singapore.. There’s a phrase in the Chinese sayings “if you don’t have such big head, then don’t wear such big hat”. It means that don’t do something that you’re are not capable of doing. The current PAP obviously does not have what it takes to run a country of 6 million population. And also this is Singapore, not Hong Kong. 

One moment, PAP claimed that due to land scarce, thus nursing home have to build within the heartland(for an example, Bishan). then next moment you claimed that we have more available lands to accommodate up to 6millions population? If we do have available lands, use it for nursing home since we have an aging population rather than bringing in more foreigners. So why aren’t PAP doing the RIGHT thing?

Singaporeans definitely appreciate how the past PAP has brought us to what we have today. But why are Singaporeans voting AGAINST PAP today? Do you really know the resentment on the ground? Why are there more support for the oppositions? Thus if PAP really wants to understand the resentment on the ground, they should invite the so called “oppositions” to the TV forum.

For an example, former PAP member, Dr Tan Cheng Bock could be invited to the forum rather than having the pro-PAP members that obviously won’t ask the “tough” question. If this is just another wayang effort, then seriously it won’t help. don’t waste the time. Spend more time in issuing more citizenship to foreigners to build up the votes. Or else, I can assured you that the word “sorry” would not be of any help in 2016. 

Last but not least, I agree with you that I also don’t support how some of the net citizen attacked PAP members with their names being singled out and their phone numbers publicized online. We are all fellow Singaporeans, indeed we must put aside all differences and work together for a common future. Thus once again, sincerely urged PAP to make the real effort to understand the resentment on the ground and make the necessary changes!


*The above was first posted as a comment on Lawrence Wong’s Facebook.

*The above was first posted as a comment on Facebook.

Posted in Letters | 30 Comments »

National Conversation is in the right direction

Posted by temasektimes on September 24, 2012

I just wanted to manage expectation of the writer and add a couple of my own points. Conversation created by the establishment is the right move in the right direction and should not be discouraged. I am a believer of positive stroke.

Change from within the establishment will not be swift and we need to understand. We also need to understand that reflective obedience is also a response to positive reinforcement and successes over the years. Thus about two third voted and that is a huge majority by any standard. This means that in general we do not want a total change of personnel.

That is why we need to be pro sungapore and try to work with the leadership despite being skeptic. And being skeptical is also to be expected but we need to encourage change and not pick every bone in a mindless attack. It achieve no result by doing so.

The next 10 years will challenge any leadership in Singapore – be it PAP or opposition. Simply because it is easier to work from poverty to better life. The basic needs is met and what is next becomes a more difficult to pursue. It is part of our nation building. I will always give the PAP the next 4 years to do their tasks. After that, I will review if more drastic change is needed.

The Chinese has a saying that wealth will not cross 3 generations, neither does poverty. Generally, this saying points to a a weaker and richer 3rd generation children. But the reality is that it has got to do with parent and the children. The problem generally is its inability to adapt the values in changing time. These were the values that makes it successful. The difficulty in making these values relevant become challenging by third generation.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.

Posted in Letters | 16 Comments »

Single Singaporean frustrated at repeated rejection for his application for higher HDB housing loan

Posted by temasektimes on September 23, 2012

I’m a single Singaporean age 37,serving my 2 yrs NS in the 6th Singapore Infantry Regiment and 10 yrs high key reservist in 595 SIR in the 9 Div under 10 SIB. I am protecting my country SINGAPORE with my life.

I’m a good Singapore citizen.Everyday same like you all working and just lead a simple life.But now i just want a shelter over my head but the way i see that HDB is unwilling to help me.

I’m a first timer to get a Resale flat from Open market. I don’t have any credit cards debt, every month contribute my CPF. I’m also doing some part time to boost up my income in order to get a higher HDB loan from HDB.

Recently I want to buy a resale flat and re-appeal for a higher loan from HDB, but when I reappeal for a higher HDB housing loan,the result is a still the same.The HDB still cannot approve me to have a higher housing from the HDB. Why?


*The above was first posted as a comment on Facebook.

Posted in Letters | 23 Comments »

‘Reflective obedience’ of Singaporeans demonstrated in ‘National Conversation’

Posted by temasektimes on September 21, 2012

A definition of conversation by wiki is: Conversation is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people who are following rules of etiquette. Spontaneity can only be achieved by across segment of people; which means a statistical representation of the Singaporean population,which according to the last GE 2011, was 60.1% for the incumbent, and 39.9% in the opposition camp.

Lets face it, even in the US, friendly journalists are planted in a forum to ask the appropriate questions that the politician has a ready answer. Hence, controlling the audience by pre-selecting the participants to benefit the panelists is a trick that all politicians use. But in the US, you will at least have other journalists who will probe without fear, getting a difficult question across and anticipating these tricks, so that a greater revelation or truth can be ascertained. In Singapore, when all the official media are beholden in one way or another to the Government/including its Sovereign Funds, then biases are expected.

Now, I am a skeptic not a cynic, we try to arrive at conclusions through inquiry not suppositions or inherent propensity.

Even if the PAP has not explicitly told the myriad of workers (which in these case would be the top brass) of the need to be pro PAP, the very fact that 65% to 70% of our workforce can be linked directly or indirectly to GLCs, and given its incumbency over a period of 55 years, the tendency is for the workers to practice “reflexive obedience”, which is to favor the PAP.

The words, “reflexive obedience”, can be understood from a report on Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear disaster: “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.”

Just in case you think this is just a cultural specific issue, let me give you snippets of the wikileaks about press control in Singapore:

*Chua Chin Hon, was reported as saying that reporters had to be careful in their coverage of local news, as Singapore’s leaders were “likely come down hard” on anyone who reported negatively about the government or its leadership.
*He recounted how several ministers at the time routinely called editors to ensure that media coverage of an issue “comes out the way they want it.” Getting “tough with the media” was one way in which younger ministers tried to boost their credentials with the old guard, he added.

On one hand this shows the paternalistic control by the Government and on the other hand, the pandering to cater to their political masters by the bureaucrats, whether or not it is good for Singapore. Other examples: (1) as the above article shows, a controlled audience ,who are friendly to PAP’s governance, will they reveal Singapore’s discords and social divide, or are they merely there to give platitudes? (2) as reported, the organisers (CCC of Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng) of the Mid Autumn Festival, pushed children of primary school age to rehearse in the open road without closing it to traffic, forcing the parents and teachers to form a human barricade against incoming traffic.

The real danger is that our civil service like the managers of Fukushima Nuclear Plant, forget that their first duty is to protect the citizens and civilians, not to cover the asses of their political bosses.If you want a National Conversation, please do it with a certain robustness of adversarial content, it need not be rude, but it can be to the point and vigorous.

I wish that the national conversation will succeed. God knows we need it. We are not anti PAP, we are pro-Singapore. Dont confuse the two.


Posted in Letters | 12 Comments »

Grandmother deprived of rehabilitation due to ‘low rehab potential’

Posted by temasektimes on September 20, 2012

I would like to raise my concern with regard to the emerging challenges of old age care in Singapore.

My grandma is 78 years old and have Parkinson. She had a fall 2 months ago and underwent 2 surgeries. The last one being a Total Hip Replacement done last Tuesday, she was admitted straight to the High Dependence Ward for 4days due to massive loss of blood during the surgery. Thankfully, the team of doctors and nurses managed to stabilized her condition which I am eternally grateful for.

Understood few days ago that Alexandra Hospital is eager to have her discharged and places like St Luke is not willing to take her in, due to “no/low rehab potential”.

I wonder how was the conclusion of “no/low” rehab potential reached without patient being given a chance?

Prior to the fall, my grandma was attending a Daycare Centre for elderly and is brought home to be cared by family members at nights, on a rotation basis amongst us. Now that she is wheelchair bound and low/no chance of being accepted back into any regular daycare, we are at a total loss as we have no mean of caring for her in the day. We definitely do not want to succumb to current situation and have her sent to old folks home – the easy way out chose by many. This so called “easy way out” will no doubt break a traditional woman like my grandma. Old folks home = abandonment.

Our wishful thinking from the start was that grandma will be referred from AH to probably a rehab hospital (example. St Luke) for at least a couple of months of rehab. She will regain some of her mobility and be considered again by daycare, we can continue to care for her the way we used to.

Due to a simply-reached “no rehab” or “low rehab” potential, she was deprived the chance.

We want to care for my grandma the way she would prefer most but how? Hands, unfortunately, have to keep working to feed the mouths? We can’t simply quit our job and be a full time carer. Hire a helper? Now what about the helper who was hired to care for that old lady and ended up murdering her? Can anyone guarantee lady luck blessed us with a good helper or have a bet with lady luck, courtesy of my grandmas’ safety? And why would I choose an inexperienced helper over experienced nurses in a rehab hospital? All we need is a couple of months, give my grandma the chance she deserves before the “no rehab” potential and really “low rehab” potential does not equal “no”. Why, I have to ask again, is my grandma deprive the opportunity?

My heart aches whenever I see my grandma. What have years put on her appearance, mind and health? Beside the physical pain she have to endure, there’s the pushing game going on.. no decent place to keep her till she is better to be back where she wants most.. home.


With utter disappointment,


Posted in Letters | 18 Comments »